Falcons head coach Mike Smith spoke about the adjustments the team is making during the bye week as he met with the Atlanta media Wednesday afternoon
On how the first practice of the bye week went:
"Our bye week started off pretty good. We had an opportunity to review the film this morning. We were on a victory Monday schedule, so we watched the game tape this morning and then switched over to Wednesday at around 9:15 a.m. and started doing our bye week. Our bye week emphasis is really to work on things that we feel like we have to get better at as a team. We spent the last 36 hours as a coaching staff trying to evaluate things that we need to really work on. That was the emphasis in today's practice. I thought that the guys came out and worked extremely hard. I think it was a really spirited practice. I've been around some bye week practices that you had to really prod them to get them to practice, and I thought that they came out competed."
On what stood out when they did self-scouting:**
"The biggest thing that came out for us as a team in all three phases is that we've got to be more consistent. We have not really put together a true 60-minute game in our opinion. We had one that I thought was fairly close, but in the seven games we haven't put together a full 60-minute game in all three phases. There have been some games that we've done really good things on maybe one side of the ball or for a period or two during the game. It's really about the consistency. The effort and the attitude has been outstanding through the first seven weeks of the season. We've just got some things that we have got to tighten up offensively, defensively and special teams-wise, and coaching. We also have to evaluate what we do as a coaching staff. We do it every year and there have been a number of inconsistencies in what we need to do as well."
On how much of an advantage the bye week gives you going into the next game:**
"I think in terms of injuries and rest for your players it's a big advantage because you have an opportunity to get guys healthy and you're not having a Sunday in which you're going out and playing a 70-snap game at full speed. You're getting an opportunity to not expose the guys to that type of environment. In terms of preparation, you kind of have to put everything on hold with your team. You don't want to get going too quickly on the next opponent, so I don't think it gives you a big advantage in terms of preparation as far as a coaching staff."
On whether they use this bye week at all to begin preparing for the Thursday night game vs. Baltimore:
"You have to make preparations and we actually started back in training camp knowing that we were going to have a short week so we started in training camp and spent some time looking at the Ravens even though they're not a division opponent because of the short week. This week we've had some situations that we've had to evaluate. That short week puts the guys in a little bit of a stressed situation in terms of preparation, especially the coaches and the guys that are breaking down the tape."
On whether attracting national attention is a good thing:
"We're excited about having a home game that's going to be on national television that's for sure and the rest of the country will get an opportunity to see our fans and our football team. I think it comes with success, we're three years into this process and I think we're continuing to get better. I like the way that the guys have been playing. We've made a lot of mistakes but we think they're all correctable and we look forward to starting the second half of the season. It starts next week against Tampa at home."
On how he preaches consistency to the team:
"I think it's very important that your team understands that you're going to be consistent in your approach to your preparation and your philosophy. I think it really starts with having a structure in place in terms of how you want to run your practices, how you want to run your offseason, how you want to run your meetings and when things don't go the way that you anticipate you can't change. You've got to have conviction in your foundation that you've set. The other thing is that you've got to be consistent from day-to-day and from week-to-week. There are a lot of ebbs and flows that take place in a football season, not only during the 16 weeks of competition but also in the offseason when you start talking about free agency, the draft, you have to make sure that you stay level headed. We preach all the time to our guys we want to be on-point all through the week and knowing that we don't want to go up and down with the outcome of the previous game or how big the next game is. We want to be very consistent. We know on Sundays it's emotional, passionate effort that you've got to have out there during the games."
On his passion and intensity during the games and whether that shows the players something:**
"I think everybody's into it. You get those 16 opportunities as an organization to perform, that's the only thing you're guaranteed. I think that it permeates all through the building. I think it's more of an attitude in terms of how we approach things. We want our guys to be a part of the process. We've said it from the very beginning, we want to be communicative and I think that's what we are. When you allow your players to be very communicative and have an opportunity to interact it gives them the feel that they're taking ownership of this team. It's not just the players, it's the players, the coaches, and everybody in the building."
On what the players are allowed to interact and have input on:
"We allow them to interact on basically anything. As coaches we're going to put the techniques in and the plays in, but we feel that our guys should be able to voice their opinions when we're putting a gameplan together. I don't believe in kings, queens, and dictators, that's just not the way you want to run an organization or you want to run a football team. You need to have input from everybody because they may have a completely different perspective on it and it doesn't mean that we're going to use what they suggest but it definitely makes you be a critical thinker as a coach or as a manager that you're taking the input in from your players. There is often times that we change things because of input from our players in terms of how we do things. I think that goes on everywhere, it's just not here in Atlanta. You want them to be a part of the process of putting everything together and I think we've been able to do that this season and I think it shows in the effort and the attitude that we've played with through the first seven games."